LRC News

Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Obama Web Ad Uses Humor to Warn Supporters About Complacency

This humorous web video, using footage of a bicyclist who waves his arms in triumph before reaching the finish line and stumbles, was made by the Obama campaign to motivate supporters during the final days of the campaign.

Obama Web ad "Don't Let Up:"

Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Obama's 30-minute Special and McCain's 30-second Response

The Obama campaign bought 30 minutes of prime-time television on seven networks and cable channels, including CBS, NBC, Fox, and MSNBC, BET, Univision, and TV One, to air a long-form commercial including documentary footage of American families, talking-head testimonials, and direct address by Obama, ending with a live broadcast from Florida. This is the first long-form prime-time commercial by a presidential candidate since Ross Perot bought a series of fifteen-minute spots in 1992. McCain reprises the "celebrity" theme in his 30-second response ad, which interestingly ends by saying that Obama is not ready to lead...yet. The word "yet" targets undecided voters who may like Obama but could be convinced that he is still a bit too inexperienced.

Obama 30-minute commercial:

McCain TV ad "Special:"

Wednesday, October 29, 2008
RNC Releases Two Ads Attacking Obama

The Republican National Committee released two seperate ads focusing on Obama's lack of experience. "Surgeon" asks "Can you hand your nation to a man who has never been in charge of anything?" The ad "Military" claims that Obama plans to cut the military budget, and would thus threaten jobs in Virginia.

RNC ad "Surgeon:"

RNC ad "Military:"

UPDATE (10/31): The Obama campaign responded to the military ad with this ad, solely targeting Virginia voters:

Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Hillary and Bill Clinton Issue a Video Urging Voters to Support the Democratic Ticket

Bill and Hillary Clinton released a Web video, through Hillary's Political Action Committee, urging voters to support Senators Obama and Biden. This is their first Web ad for the ticket, and it comes just before the Clintons embark on a series of separate appearances in the final week of the campaign.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008
McCain Ad Revisits Iran as an Issue, Using Obama's "Tiny" Comment

The McCain team revisits an issue it brought up earlier in the campaign, by re-running an ad that uses a quote from Obama to suggest that the Democratic candidate doesn't understand the nature of the threat from Iran. The ad was already rebuffed in a report from

McCain ad "Tiny:"

Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Obama Web Ad Urges a Day Off Next Tuesday

The Obama campaign urges supporters to talk to their bosses or teachers and ask for the day off next Tuesday, November 4, to do get-out-the-vote volunteer work on Election Day.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Errol Morris Creates Web Ads and Site "People in the Middle for Obama"

Errol Morris, the acclaimed documentary filmmaker (The Fog of War, The Thin Blue Line, Standard Operating Procedure), has created a series of ads, and related website, People in the Middle for Obama, with testimonials from a wide range of citizens explaining why they are voting for Obama. The ads are targeted at undecided voters. Here, Peggy Morgan, an evangelical Christian, explains that "in balance, Senator Obama has more to offer me and I think he really cares...Obama's a Christian, I'm a Christian, and I'm voting for him."

Morris also used interviews with real voters to create a series of independent ads for John Kerry in 2004:

Tuesday, October 28, 2008
New Ad Hits McCain on Gambling and Lobbyists

McCain's ties to the gambling industry, the subject of a story in The New York Times in September, inspired this independent ad that attacks McCain for his connections to lobbyists, calling the Republican "gambling's go-to-guy." Like one of McCain's earlier attack ads, "Celebrity," this ad opens by invoking Britney Spears and Paris Hilton.

Independent anti-McCain ad "Gambling:"

Tuesday, October 28, 2008
McCain Ad "Compare" Sums up the Campaign's Major Attack Lines Against Obama

The new McCain ad uses catchy music and a minimalist script to reduce the campaign to a choice between "higher taxes" and "working joes," between "risky" and "proven."

McCain ad "Compare:"

Monday, October 27, 2008
McCain Begins Final Week Ad Drive Focusing on Economy, Experience

McCain begins his final-week push hitting on some key points for his closing argument: differentiating himself from George Bush, accusing Obama of wanting to raise taxes, and suggesting that his experience trumps Obama's rhetoric.

McCain ad "Life Savings:"

Monday, October 27, 2008
BornAliveTruth Responds to Obama's Response to Abortion Ad

The group has released a TV ad responding to Obama's response ad to their first ad with Gianna Jessen.

BornAliveTruth ad: "Gianna Responds"

Monday, October 27, 2008
Republican 527 Group Renews the Wright Attack

The 527 group National Republican Trust PAC has launched a new ad linking Obama to Reverend Jeremiah Wright, using a graphic style that mimics Obama's official posters, changing the slogan to "Hate He Could Believe In." Without much subtlety, the ad juxtaposes the words "Hate" and "God."

Sunday, October 26, 2008
Obama Braces for Final Round of Attacks with New Ad

Barack Obama prepares for a final round of attack ads against him with this new ad, which attacks McCain's attack ads, arguing that he is trying to change the subject from the economy with "scare tactics and smears."

Obama ad: "New Subject:"

Saturday, October 25, 2008
RNC Ad Uses Storm Imagery, Calls Obama Untested

The Republican National Committee uses evocative imagery in this new ad, trying to raise concerns about Obama's lack of experience in case the current economic storm gets worse.

RNC Ad: "Storm:"

Bush 2004 ad "Wolves" raises fear about electing Kerry in dangerous times.

Saturday, October 25, 2008
Obama Begins Endgame with Two-Minute Ad

The Obama campaign launched a new two-minute ad which summarizes his plans and says "the real question is, will our country be better off four years from now?"

A closing ad by George Bush in 1992:

Friday, October 24, 2008
Truth And Hope Creates Series of "Local Voices for Obama" Ads

The 527 group Truth and Hope has created a series of well-produced documentary ads called Local Voices for Obama, with voters in swing states talking about their support for Obama, and some of the opposition that they have been dealing with. In this spot, Darrell Hanschen of Jackson, Missouri, talks candidly about a group of men at a Methodist Church who reluctantly decided to vote for Obama even though they have concerns about his race.

Truth and Hope Ad "Darrell:"

Friday, October 24, 2008
The "Wassup" Guys Return for an Independent Obama Ad

Charles Stone III, the film director who made the popular "Wassup" commercial for Budweiser in 1999, has created a pro-Obama sequel. This independently produced Web video which seems bound to become a viral video hit. It has received half a million YouTube views within its first day of being posted.

Independent Obama ad "Wassup 2008:"

The original "Wassup" ad:

Friday, October 24, 2008
Obama and Biden in Senate Ads

The Democratic ticket endorsed two Senate candidates in separate TV ads. Obama makes his first TV ad for a Senate candidate, Oregon Democrat Jeff Merkley, who is making a strong challenge to incumbent Republican Gordon Smith. Vice-presidential candidate Joe Biden made an ad for Delaware Senate candidate...incumbent Joe Biden. The biographical ad doesn't specify which office it is for, but Biden will be on the ballot in Delaware as candidate for Vice President and for U.S. Senate. If he wins both races, he can resign from the Senate. The successor would be chosen by the state's Democratic Governor Ruth Ann Minner.

Barack Obama ad for Oregon Democrat Jeff Merkley:

Joe Biden ad "Kitchen Table:"

Friday, October 24, 2008
New York Times and Nielsen Look at Final Ad Blitz

The New York Times warns to "get ready for the coming ad blitz" in this roundup article. The piece by Kate Phillips raises questions about the latest McCain ad, which uses Joe Biden's words to suggest that Obama is a risky choice because his election might bring on an international crisis:

"The audio of Senator Biden’s remarks has an echo-y effect, while pictures of tanks, Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Iran’s president unfold across the screen in grainy, bluish tones. 'I guarantee you, it’s gonna happen,' Senator Biden warns. But then the ad script says, 'It doesn’t have to happen. Vote McCain.' Now, a couple of facts get in the way of this ad. In his original remarks, Senator Biden touted what he termed Mr. Obama’s 'spine of steel' after discussing the historical nature of terrorists and foreign leaders always testing a new president. You don’t have to go back to the Cuban Missile Crisis, as Mr. Biden did, to cite the possible scenarios that could unfold for any new president. Mr. Biden did not say an Obama presidency would make the country more vulnerable than a McCain administration, as this ad suggests."

The Nielsen Company, best known for its TV ratings, has released statistics about ad spending in the final month of the campaign. Most notable is the disparity in spending between Obama and McCain in Florida.

"In the home stretch leading up to the presidential election, Sen. Barack Obama is easily out-advertising his presidential opponent, Sen. John McCain. In seven key swing states — Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, Obama placed 150% more ad units (53,049 v. 21,106) than McCain between October 6 and October 22, 2008. Obama’s advertising has been most prolific in Florida, where he ran 15,887 ads between October 6 and October 22, 2008, outpacing McCain’s 4,662 ads by 240%."

Friday, October 24, 2008
Planned Parenthood Targets Virginia with Anti-McCain Ad

This ad by Planned Parenthood, which will air in Virginia, attacks McCain not on abortion rights issues, but on insurance coverage and taxes on health benefits.

Planned Parenthood ad "Worse for Women:"